Morphs [Oak Catalog #]
Notable BiologyAxew (scientific name Dolabradentosaurus fortis) is a small reptilian Pokémon with a green, scaly hide, four small, poorly-developed legs, a stubby tale, and a head that is disproportionately large head for its body. Though it is capable of rearing up on its hind legs to adopt a bipedal stance for short periods of time, its muscles are not yet strong enough to support its full weight for long, and as a result Axew spends most of its time on all fours; while its hind legs terminate in a pair of hooflike toes, its front limbs feature three stubby fingers which it uses to pluck berries from low hanging branches. A durable, lime-green growth surrounds its neck in a protective sheath of bone, most likely to discourage predators from trying to crush Axew’s windpipe. The creature’s pink eyes dominate a rather large area of its oval-shaped skull, but in spite of their size these organs do not provide the best vision as they are overly-sensitive to intense light; to compensate for this, they are surrounded by a patch of dark scales which absorb excess light and cut the glare. A large, curved crest juts from the back of the creature’s skull; given the dark scales which cover it and the large number of blood vessels which run just underneath the surface of its skin there, the scientific community believes this protuberance to be a thermal sail which allows Axew to regulate its body temperature by venting excess heat in warm climes, and attracting sunlight in cooler climes. It is most notable for a pair of large, flat tusks which jut from its upper jaw perpendicularly to the rest of its teeth. As the remainder of its teeth are small and poorly-developed, Axew is unable to chew its food; as a result, it employs its tusks to crush berries, fruit and other meals into a fine paste which it can then lap up at its discretion. Despite this use as a blunt instrument, these tusks are also incredibly sharp and used for dangerous slashing attacks; that said, they are markedly fragile in this stage of the creature’s life, and if pressure is applied to the flat of the blade they will break easily. Fortunately, as Axew is still growing and maturing, it can easily regenerate the damaged teeth in short order; in fact, as this repeated regrowth actually strengthens the calcium of their tusks, Axew are encouraged to damage and break their tusks as often as possible to ensure the greatest possible durability once they evolve into Fraxure. Fraxure (D. vehemens) is considerably more impressive in appearance than its juvenile form. The creature’s spinal column and dorsal muscles have been fortified during its transformation, allowing it to stand upright at all times, albeit with a noticeable hump in its back. Its tail has developed into a long, powerful limb which provides an additional layer of stability, but due to the squat, almost-elephantine nature of its legs Fraxure cannot move much faster than its smaller kin. Much of the reptile’s upper body is covered with thick plates of a durable green material, improving its defensive capabilities, and the scales on its exposed face and lower body have faded in colour from green to a dark grey as a result of age and maturity. Its toes and fingers have now become shockingly red claws, giving it an extra set of weapons; the tips of its tusks, tail and a strange pattern on its belly are of a similar red hue, leading to speculation as to what connection these body parts have with one another, if any. Its irises have faded to a deeper shade of red as well, and the dark green bands which surround them have turned black; thanks to the sharp slant along the upper edge of these light-absorbing patches of skin, Fraxure’s eyes have an altogether more predatory aspect than those of Axew. Save for its tusks, Fraxure’s teeth have fused together in the beginnings of a curved, raptor-like beak with a sharp hook at the end; fittingly, it is at this point in the creature’s life that it begins a gradual shift from a strict herbivorous diet to more omnivorous tendencies, with a marked preference for meat. The tusks themselves are more than twice as long as they were during the juvenile stage, and their edges are sharp and strong enough to cleave even boulders with relative ease. That said, now that it has matured into Fraxure, its body no longer produces the hormones required to instigate rapid cell growth in its tusks; if they break during this crucial stage of its life cycle, they cannot be regenerated. As a result, Fraxure are fiercely protective of their tusks, sharpening them after every battle to keep them from going dull and inspecting them regularly for any flaws or imperfections that could lead to the blade being shattered. The final stage of this animal’s life cycle, Haxorus (D. imperator) is so drastically different from its previous two morphs that Unovan pokébiologists initially thought it to be a completely different, unrelated animal. Almost nothing remains of the small, frail-looking Axew which this majestic and fearsome Pokémon had once been; the beast stands tall and proud at an average height of five feet, eleven inches, and save for its inner thighs and feet, the tip of its tail, its chest and its face, every inch of this draconian Pokémon’s body is covered with a thick layer of durable, golden scales that make Haxorus nearly impervious to harm. Its digitigrade feet feature three splayed talons which, combined with its sleek and serpentine body, allow the creature to run and sprint at speeds far exceeding those of its smaller cousins; when running, the reptile holds its tail out parallel to the ground as a way of maintaining its balance. While the fingers of Haxorus are smaller and less flexible than the digits it possessed as Fraxure, they are still remarkably strong and able to contain struggling prey with little difficulty. Like its previous stage, Haxorus possesses an avian beak rather than a mouth full of reptilian teeth; the tip of said beak is wickedly curved, and its edges are sharp enough to rend even the toughest flesh with ease. Far more impressive than its raptor snout, however, are its tusks; the blades have now broadened considerably, making them resemble the twin heads of a mighty labrys. They protrude almost a foot ahead of its beak, and extend a good distance beyond the back of its head on the opposite end, causing them to bracket the entirety of the creature’s skull; furthermore, assuming that they were properly cared for during the Fraxure stage, these axe-like blades are perfectly capable of cutting through steel and are so durable that breaking them requires a truly stupendous amount of force and effort; as such, while it is possible for a Haxorus’ tusks to be broken, such an occurrence is exceedingly rare, and the idea that its tusks are unbreakable has firmly lodged itself into the popular consciousness. Notably, a rare mutation has resulted in individual Axew whose scales are a muted cream colour, rather than the usual green. These exceedingly rare mutants evolve into Fraxure with blue talons, scales and eyes rather than the usual red, a trait which is, somewhat surprisingly, not carried over upon maturation into Haxorus; instead, the fully-grown dragon possesses the standard red eyes, claws, and edges, but the golden lustre of its armour plates has faded to a dull grey only slightly lighter than the rest of its scales. These individuals, as one might expect, are highly prized by collectors, and in the past it was not uncommon for such mutant Axew, Fraxure and Haxorus to fetch truly exorbitant prices at auction.
HabitatA relatively rare strain of Pokémon, the Axew line can only be found in two particular areas of the Unova region in the wild; Axew themselves dwell within the shadowy depths of Mistralton Cave, from which they emerge periodically to explore the surrounding woods of Route Six, find berries to eat and mark their territory by carving up the trunks of nearby trees. Fraxure, by contrast, are found only within the caverns and along the sheer, sandswept escarpments of the local Victory Road, countless dozens—if not hundreds—of miles away from Route Six and Mistralton Cave; it is theorized that the creatures migrate to Victory Road upon evolution, but as of this writing no such sojourn has ever been documented. Haxorus is almost unheard of in the wild, and due to recent urbanization efforts having an adverse effect on their territory the majestic creatures have retreated into the northern mountain ranges, just beyond Unovan borders; as a result, most Haxorus encountered in Unova belong to Pokémon trainers.
DietAs mentioned in the Notable Biology section, Axew is a primarily-herbivorous Pokémon; the main staple of its diet is typically berries, though it will also eat other plants, fruits and occasionally small insects. As it lacks any durable teeth beyond its tusks, it cannot chew its food; as a result, Axew will use the flat sides of its tusks to crush and grind its meal into a fine paste which it can then lap up at its leisure. Fraxure, by contrast, is an omnivore with marked carnivorous tendencies; while it still eats berries, fruits and plants to an extent, it derives far more nutrients—and satisfaction—from devouring live prey like Mienfoo, Woobat, Heatmor and Vullaby. Although they do not feed on Deino and its evolutions, Fraxure will recognize the creatures as a potential threat and kill any such infant dragons they might happen upon to prevent future competition for prey. Haxorus, finally, has made the transition from an omnivorous diet to an entirely carnivorous one; on those rare occasions where one has been encountered in the wild, it typically fills the role of apex predator for that location. It considers most other creatures to be prey, an assumption that is quite justified given the durability and lethality of its bladelike tusks; as a consequence, Haxorus have few predators. They normally refrain from preying upon humans, but if food has become scarce they will not have a second’s hesitation before giving chase; as such, Pokémon trainers travelling through Haxorus territory had best be on guard at all times.
HazardsAs one might infer from the above paragraphs, Axew and its evolutions are extremely territorial Pokémon; they tolerate no intruders, and are quick to give chase to anything that has violated the boundaries of their domain. The intensity of this reaction varies by morph—Axew will not challenge intruders which are clearly more powerful than itself; Fraxure is incredibly belligerent and will attack anything which it perceives to be an invader, including others of its own kind; and Haxorus is a surprisingly gentle beast in spite of its awe-inspiring and fearsome appearance, never attacking unless it is provoked. While it isn’t a predator, wild Axew are far from harmless; even though their tusks are still developing, their edges are incredibly sharp and can even slice the rocky hides of Rock-type Pokémon with little effort; furthermore, the creature possesses a rudimentary omni-sac that allows it to expel a thick cone of concussive energy from its mouth. In addition to this, small glands at the base of its tusks allow Axew and its evolutions to coat their teeth in a corona of searing green flames, thereby increasing the damage their attacks will inflict. In addition to these abilities, all three members of the line have the ability to fly into a tremendous rage while engulfing themselves in emerald flames and thrash about violently in a tremendously damaging attack; fortunately, one major drawback of such an outrage is that the user tires itself out to the point of confusion, causing it to occasionally trip and injure itself as it attempts to regain its bearings. Furthermore, Axew, Fraxure and Haxorus have the ability to body slam their opponents with all the force and power at their disposal, a monstrously powerful blow that will often leave their foes severely winded at the least, and knock them utterly senseless at worst. Due to the tremendous exertion that this so-called “Giga Impact” requires, however, the reptile will need several moments to recover its strength after a successful attack. As they are Dragon-type Pokémon, the Axew line is resistant to the effects of Fire, Grass, Water and Electric-type attacks, and has few weaknesses; their incredibly durable armour plating further inures them to physical attacks, thereby limiting one’s options should one encounter a member of this strain in the wild or in a Pokémon battle. Only the freezing chill of Ice-type attacks and the raw power of other dragons can put a dent in this creature’s formidable defenses; if you know that you will be entering the territory of an Axew or its evolutions, it would be wise to keep a Pokémon that knows Ice Beam, Blizzard or a similar move on hand.
Courting and ChildrearingMembers of the Axew line become sexually mature upon evolution into Fraxure; as such, mating is restricted to the second and third stages of the reptile’s life cycle. Competitions for mates between Fraxure, much like their struggles for territory, can oftentimes be incredibly violent; should two or more males encounter a single female who is ready to mate, they will grapple and slash at one another with their tusks, attempting to force one another to back down. While most Fraxure have the sense to withdraw when it becomes apparent that they are losing, some individuals will stubbornly press on and continue to fight; occasionally this allows them to snatch victory—and mating privileges—from the jaws of defeat, but more often than not it results in serious injury, death or shattered tusks. Once the contest has been decided and a victor emerges, the female will escort her champion to a secluded spot in order to conduct their business in privacy. The gestation lasts for six months, during which the male shall remain with the female and protect her territory as well as his own. Once the eggs have been laid, it will take another four weeks to hatch; at this point the father takes over the parenting and nesting duties while the female ventures off to find some food in order to recuperate from her state of near-starvation. Once the baby Axew hatch, however, the family unit dissolves; the male returns to his own territory, and the mother carries her offspring to the sheltering darkness of Mistralton Cave to fend for themselves.
Social StructureAll stages of the Axew line are solitary by nature, coming together only to mate or to battle for territory. Those raised in captivity tend to be more welcoming of outsiders, and will often be quite loyal and affectionate towards their trainers if raised with love and proper care.
Trainer’s NotesAs one might infer from reading this article, training and caring for an Axew, Fraxure or Haxorus is by no means an easy task. Capturing a wild specimen during its Fraxure phase often sours relations between trainer and Pokémon, as the creature will quickly grow to resent the human which captured it for besting it in battle and taking it away from its territory; while a well-treated Fraxure may eventually warm to its trainer, it will never completely trust its captor. A far better option, particularly for beginning trainers, would be to capture a specimen while it is still in the juvenile phase of Axew. While it too may be sullen and disgruntled upon capture, the young reptile will acclimatize to its new environment far more quickly than its older kin would. Furthermore, Axew tend to dislike being confined to their Pokéballs; allowing them to roam free, in close proximity to oneself, will strengthen the bond between Trainer and Pokémon. Another element one must consider is the creature’s diet; finding food for your Axew is rather easy during its initial, herbivorous stage, but once it evolves into Fraxure it will require a regular intake of meat. While pokémarts often carry choice cuts of meat and protein pills for just such a situation, these can be expensive; furthermore, as it is a predator your Fraxure or Haxorus will not be satisfied with being fed dead meat, no matter how well-prepared or tasty such meat might prove—to quote noted pokébiologist Dr. Albert Grint, “[Haxorus] doesn’t want to be fed, he wants to hunt.” For this reason, strict laws are in effect regarding the feeding patterns of a trained Fraxure or Haxorus: the creature may only hunt in spaces at least five miles from the nearest urban area, so as to minimalize the risk of it accidentally killing and eating the Pokémon of a fellow trainer; and to prevent the potential destabilization of the ecosystem, it is not permitted to consume more than two creatures per day, regardless of size, weight, type, strain or niche. Depending on the severity of the infraction, failure to comply with these laws can result in a hefty fine, several weeks of community sevice, or a brief stay in prison. Finally, as Axew and its evolutions are territorial, it is important to note that a trained specimen will regard its trainer as a part of its territory; as such, it may try to mark one with painful nicks from its tusks, and will become markedly aggressive if it perceives its trainer to be threatened by an outside force. One must take care to train them out of this tendency, to avoid having one’s Axew, Fraxure or Haxorus accidentally inflict serious injuries upon oneself or attack one’s friends and loved ones out of a misunderstanding. All in all, training a member of the Axew line is a serious undertaking that must be done with great emotional and financial equipment; for this reason, while cute, it is not recommended for beginning trainers to start out with this reptilian Pokémon or its evolutions.
Written by SullenFrog